Harley is now 15 months old, and to be honest, I hadn’t considered even thinking about potty training until she was at least two if not three. It just wasn’t on my radar of things to start doing now – she can’t yet communicate consistently, so how could she tell me when she has to go? And besides, how could she even have the body awareness to know that she has to go? I figured I’d wait and cross that bridge a bit further down the line.
Then I read this post from the awesome Mandy of Pregnant in Cape Town, and I wanted the Baby Throne. I even entered her competition (I didn’t win). Again, I forgot about it, figuring the time would come when we’d start toilet training and I’d worry about it then. But then I was sent a Baby Throne, and it is truly a remarkable piece of tech that has already started to save me time, energy and nappies.
First up, let’s be clear – Harley is in no way potty trained. In fact, while that is eventually my goal, it really isn’t my plan at this stage.
When the Baby Throne first arrived, we pretty much just played with it. I put it in the lounge along with the rest of Harley’s toys, and she climbed in and out of it, pulled it off its pedestal and generally had fun with it. It is so much like the Bumbo seat that she had, so I guess it felt strangely familiar for her. But, after a few days of playing around, it was time to put it to use – and I was useless with it. I popped her in the seat and somehow expected magic, expected everything to come out and be done with. Well, not quite.
You see, toilet training at this age with the Baby Throne is really more about parent training. I had to learn Harley’s natural rhythm and try to catch her during those windows of opportunity. I like to think about it the same way I do my own stomach. At most times of day, I can hit the gym or the yoga mat, get into the deepest squat known to man, and just enjoy the exercise. However, at certain times, I’ll get down into that squat and let out some crazy farts (don’t lie, we’ve all done it) and even need to pause my workout to make a quick pit stop. And that’s totally normal!
Our bowels are actually built in such a way that squatting is the easiest position to empty everything out. In the East, most toilets are squat toilets just for that reason. But, let’s be honest here, that sounds pretty gross to many of us. Even the weird step stools (hehe) that New Age websites sell to help bring your knees up while using a conventional Western toilet just make me furrow my brow. It’s fine, I’m an adult, I know how to get that feeling and go to the loo – no big deal. However, that squatting action and ensuing bowel movement is exactly what the throne helps in babies, making the pushing action a natural, easy one, eliminating strain.
From the age your baby is old enough to hold up her head, she can sit on the Throne. Her knees will be elevated, putting her in that nice squat without even having to do exercise. If her bowel is full, it will naturally empty in a few quick, effortless pushes. It really isn’t rocket science; it’s almost like the valve or the pipe is aligned and everything comes out without straining or really even knowing what’s going on. And, provided the parent is trained to know when that tends to happen in the baby’s day, it really is just that easy. This is especially important as little ones start eating more solid foods; their stool can change and it can become more difficult and uncomfortable for them to go, so the ease of the squatting position can make a huge difference. In fact, constipation in toddlers and kids is really common (I guess it makes sense as it can be tricky to get little ones to drink enough water and consume enough roughage) and the Baby Throne is actually recommended by pediatricians as a solution.
After a bit of a consultation, I tried again with Harley, now in the morning before school and in the afternoon, after her nap. She particularly loves the morning time on her Throne, probably because we brush her teeth, wash her face and get her dressed while she sits there. Oh, who am I kidding – she just loves it because she can reach for the toilet paper and pull off one square after another, pretending to blow her nose because she hasn’t quite mastered that skill yet. It’s adorable.
Then, without any effort, stress or coaxing, she will have a pee and sometimes a poo. Just like that. No worrying, no “training”. It just comes on out of her. We celebrate with clapping and I tell Harley how clever she is. Then I let her flush the toilet and we get her in a fresh nappy. Even if nothing happens, I tell her she’s a clever girl and how much fun it is to sit together – I just don’t let her flush if she hasn’t done anything (both to encourage her to do business and because we are very water aware in our home).
And that’s pretty much that. At this point, the throne is doing everything I want it to do. It’s making toilet time safe and comfortable, it’s cutting down on the number of poo nappies I need to change on a given day (sometimes I still get the window of opportunity wrong, but going a day without changing a crappy nappy is a pretty good incentive to keep trying), and it is helping Harley to understand what it feels like when she needs to go to the bathroom, as well as how to go in the toilet. Plus, it gives us yet another bonding opportunity as we laugh and have fun while she sits on the pot for max ten minutes at a time, twice a day. Now I just need to get her some age-appropriate flash cards to play with while we’re at it – why not multitask and make her even more of a genius?
As Harley gets older, I think the throne will help toilet training go much faster and with less hassle. She will be able to tell me when she needs to go, we’ll pop her on the throne and be done with it. After seeing how easy it is, I can understand how babies used to be toilet trained by 18 months in the before times (and still to this day in Vietnam, if random infographics and videos I’ve seen on Facebook are to be trusted). When it’s this easy, why drag out the process?
If your child is anywhere between four months old and any age where they still weight less than 20kgs, I’d recommend you give the Baby Throne a whirl. It’s easy, fun, and makes the prospect of toilet training so much less daunting. Besides, any day that doesn’t include changing a poo nappy is automatically a better day. You can follow Baby Throne on Facebook, and Twitter, and I’d recommend that you do – I have it on good authority that there will be another giveaway taking place before the end of the month.
Full disclaimer: I received the Baby Throne and financial compensation for this post. However, I really do think the throne is unique and I’d recommend it to any parents, particularly those whose kids are struggling to relax on the toilet.